We’ve written about the conditions over on California’s Death Row and how at least one inmate has made the news requesting the death penalty because life would be better for him on Death Row rather than serving life imprisonment at another California facility.  (Read our posts about Billy Joe Johnson here.)

Now, a North Carolina Death Row inmate is sharing that spotlight as he writes of how he gets three good meals, naps when he wants, top-notch medical care 24/7, and TV access, in his "life of leisure" on North Carolina’s Death Row.

Here is the full text of his letter (no changes have been made to the original handwritten text although we’ve added breaks to make it easier to read):

My name is Danny Hembree. I was tried in Gaston Co. by twelve of its fine citizens. I was found guilty of 1st degree capital murder and sentenced to death by Judge Beverly Beal on Nov. 18, 2011.

The Great State of North Carolina’s Dept. of Corr. was ordered to carry out my murder, or was it, or is it just another piece of the politition political money pie. I wonder if the public is aware that the cost of my first trial was a half a million dollars. Are they aware that the State has in place a system that automatically delays my lawful murder for years so that pieces of the money pie can continue to be passed around. Is the public aware that the chances of my lawful murder taking place in the next 20 years if even are very slim.

Is the public aware that I am a gentleman of lesiure, watching color tv in the A.C., reading, takeing naps at will, eating three well balanced hot meals a day. I’m housed in a building that connects to the new 55 million dollar hospital with round the clock free medical care 24/7. There are a lot of good citizens who bloged on various web sites stating their opinions about me and the punishment that I deserve.

Most of these blogs were made by anonymous cowards, but not all. I laugh at you self righteous clowns and I spit in the face of your so called justice system. The State of North Carolina has sentenced me to death but it’s not real. You citizens of Gaston Co. should petition the State and force them to carry out my murder sentence instead of blindly taking it up the XXX from the State or are you to stupid to proceed.

I am a man who is ready to except his unjust punishment and face God almighty with a clear consceince unlike you cowards and your cowardly system. Kill me if you can suckers.

Ha! Ha! Ha!


Danny Hembree

Death Row Conditions Depend Upon the State

As this letter stirs more controversy and brings a national focus on Death Row conditions in North Carolina, one would hope that the American Public would also be reminded of the Death Row conditions in other states.  States where Mr. Hembree’s "life of leisure" does not exist.

Reminds us of the 2002 letter that a Texas Death Row inmate sent to an anti-death penalty advocate about the conditions there: solitary confinement, rotten food, etc. 

And of the 2006 description of his time on Florida’s Death Row by Juan Roberto Melendez – who was exonerated after serving 17 years in a Death Row Cell at Raiford. 

Perhaps we need to consider the source and not only his motivations but also his possible mental perspective before any assumptions are made that any state’s Death Row is a cushy spot to spend your life.